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Digital registry on organ transplants to streamline donations on cards

New Delhi: In an initiative aimed at regulating organ donation, the government is developing a digital registry on organ transplantation to smoothen the system and make it transparent.

The Organ Donation Registry is being developed by the National Health Authority (NHA) and the union health ministry following consultation with the NITI Aayog for an overhaul of the National Organ Tissue Transplantation Organization (NOTTO), which manages and coordinates organ transplantation across the country. This will help eliminate the presence of touts and middlemen. In the first phase, the registry is collecting pledges from people for their organ donation. One organ donor can save up to eight lives by donating the heart, two lungs, pancreas, two kidneys and intestine.

“The ‘Organ Donation registry’ is a part of the overhaul of NOTTO which is ongoing under the National Organ Transplant Progamme (NOTP) 2.0. There is a complete redesign of policies taking place on which even the prime minister and health minister have spoken a couple of times to sensitize people on organ donation and make the entire system transparent and smoothen it,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. “Easing of organ transplant policies is being done by NOTTO and NITI Aayog. And the responsibility of shaping the policies into the digital format is being given to the National Health Authority. For example, in the future all organ transplants should be fully digitized and transparent. If we have a list of recipients and donors, the organ should be allocated to that patient who is in need and can easily avail themselves as organs have a very small shelf-life,” said an official aware of the matter.

Currently, the entire organ transplantation process is done manually. The registry aims to provide real-time information about donors (live as well as cadaver) and receivers on one secure platform for effective, efficient and transparent delivery of services.

“NHA is developing four registries—organ donation pledge registry, recipient registry and two registries for live and cadaver donors. This will create a centralized database with only relevant stakeholders having access to the data as per the data privacy policy of NHA. As a first step, we have started with pledge registry to promote awareness on organ donation and to have an indicative list of people who wish to become organ donors after their life. After taking the pledge, a person will get a digital certificate,” the official added.

The portal will be linked to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission under which ABHA Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) will be the backbone to establish the facts —whether the person who has taken the pledge is a potential organ donor or not.

“The organ donation pledge certificate will have the person’s ABHA number on the certificate. This will help the doctors to review all health records of a person to ascertain whether he can be a potential organ donor or not. This will be an entirely consent-based protocol. Beside this, a person can make pledge by feeding their Aaddhar number also,” the official said. Queries sent to the prime minister’s office and health ministry remained unanswered.

Right now, the plan of the government is to create 100 crore such pledges on the portal, first in the world. In July, Former Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also wrote a letter to all medical colleges/states/UTs to promote organ donation, seek pledges from people as the country is celebrating Angdaan Mahotsav.

“We are thinking to achieve the target 1 crore pledges on organ donation till PM’s birthday next month. This was discussed in one of our meetings as our PM believes in Seva bhawana. We have seen PM has always been very active in educating people on organ donation,” said a second official.

The union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya last week said that organ donation has increased significantly in the country over the last few years. Since 2013, the annual organ donation has gone up from 5000 to 15000 so far.

Doctors say that every year hundreds of thousands of patients languish on waiting lists at top hospitals for life-saving organ transplants amid an acute shortage of donors. In India, nearly 50,000 people need heart transplants, another 200,000 kidney, and 100,000 each for liver and eye transplants every year, however, the supply is very poor.

Queries sent to the prime minister’s office and health ministry remained unanswered.

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Updated: 06 Aug 2023, 09:51 PM IST

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